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Friday, October 9, 2009

The Lord Disciplines His Children

Let's face it folks. If we know the Lord; if we are His children-- He disciplines us like any good father would.

I have seen pastors treat staff members with impunity. They think that nothing will happen to them. They think they rule the roost and no one can tell them what they have done is wrong. They are wrong! I have seen these same pastors receive exactly what they dealt to their staff by their churches. Let me give just a couple of examples.

Case 1: A pastor asks a staff member to leave because the staff member had received complaints. The staff member had been an excellent minister but had angered some of the people who thought the ministry was growing too fast. They looked for the flaws in the staff member and ran to the pastor who wanted to appease these important people in the church. The staff member left for another church.

Years later this pastor is asked to leave because there are those who complained. 

Case 2: A staff member asks a Sunday School teacher to step down because he has become so popular that other Sunday School teachers are complaining. They say that the popular teacher is actually keeping the ministry from growing. Years later this staff member is asked to step down from his ministry because he has gotten the same complaints.

I would like to give this message to all those who know the Lord and have dealt unkindly, unjustly and /or unethically with a Christian brother or sister: Either repent and make things right between you and them or get your house in order because God is about to discipline you!

I don't care how justified you feel. If you withheld grace, don't be surprised when grace is withheld from you. If you did what you did to protect your own hide, don't be surprised when another does the same to you to protect his hide. It will be given to us in the same way we gave it to others. God will instigate this discipline. He disciplines His children because He loves us. 

It is often years between a transgression and God's discipline. I believe God gives a gracious amount of time to repent. He sends conviction through the Holy Spirit. He sends people to deliver the message. It was years between the time of David's adultery and Nathan showing up to give God's judgment. It was years in each case that I can remember when God has disciplined His children.  

I don't want to give you the thought that you have lots of time to repent. I don't know that. Maybe the time for your repentance and restitution with the other person is already up. Personally, I would do whatever it takes to make things right. If I cheated them out of money, I would get the money to them as quickly as possible. If I lied, I would run to tell the truth. If I hurt them, I would apologize. If I unjustly fired them, I would apologize and help them find another job. Regardless of what I had done, I would do what I could to make it right. And I would do so today!

Ask the Lord if there is anyone with whom you need to make things right. Be willing to accept whoever He says. Act what He tells you to make those things right. You may be surprised the blessing this will become.

Then, live like a person who needs grace. If you give it to others, it will return to you. Maybe it won't return from the ones you give grace to, however,  I guarantee it will come back to you from the Lord.

Have nothing against others and do your best to give them no cause for having something against you. Always give grace and you will live with a clear conscience and in the grace of the Lord.

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